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The Power of Good Advice

  • Writer's pictureBarry Jilin

Impress With Curb Appeal

Homes with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell.

Homes with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell.

The way a property looks from the street - attractively landscaped and well-maintained - will make a memorable and lasting first impression. Potential buyers are going to love the little and big details put in with love.

Wash Your House’s Face REALTORS® say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses. A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding. Washing windows inside as well as out will let light in and add sparkle. Power washers (rental: $75 per day) can reveal the true colors. Another option, depending on ones’ budget, is a professional cleaning crew, will cost hundreds — depending on the size of the house and number of windows — but will finish in a couple of days.

Freshen the Paint Job

The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it, and appraisers will value it. Of course, painting can be expensive and time-consuming facelift, but will ear dividends. Resist the urge to make a statement with color. An appraiser will mark down the value of a house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition. Clean the front door and give it a couple of coats of paint. If it’s not an option to paint the entire home, then, paint the trim — or just the window trim — in an accent color. This is a relatively simple upgrade that provides plenty of pop.

Neaten the Yard

A well-clipped lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home. Swap overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in pots. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly. If you’re selling anytime soon, any work you do now will reap benefits in your home’s selling price. “Clutter,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder, so think of it this way: Buyers need to imagine your home as their own, with their possessions and their style. Go for a clean, streamlined look.

Glam Up Your Mailbox

An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make the house stand out. High-style die cast aluminum mailboxes range from $100 to $350. A handsome, hand-painted mailbox runs about $50. If you don’t buy new, at least give your old mailbox a face-lift with paint and new house numbers.

Keep Up With Maintenance Nothing looks worse from the curb — and sets off subconscious alarms — like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint. Not only can these deferred maintenance items a home, but they can decrease the value of the property by 10%. Keep these maintenance routines in mind, they will dramatically help keep the look:

  • Refasten sagging gutters

  • Recoat bricks that have lost their mortar

  • Seal cracked asphalt

  • Replace cracked windows

  • Old fixtures often seem dated and unappealing to buyers. Newer exterior light fixtures can quickly give a home an updated look


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